Letters To The Editor


May 31, 2007

Is the mayor serious about cutting crime?

I was pleased to see Mayor Sheila Dixon declare that Baltimore's level of violence is "unacceptable" and "has to stop" ("Dixon says violence `has to stop,'" May 25).

I wonder, though, if there is some disconnect between the words Ms. Dixon speaks and the actions she takes.

Specifically, I am concerned the plans the city announced last week to spend $19 million from its budget surplus ("City has big plans for budget surplus," May 22).

Perhaps rather than being used for an anti-littering campaign or a fountain for kids to play in at the Inner Harbor, the money could go toward hiring, training and retaining more police officers in the city.

The fact the city also spent $24.6 million in surplus revenue on police and firefighter overtime indicates that there simply are not enough officers to go around.

As The Sun has reported, the Police Department has 2,932 officers, which is about 300 below full staffing level ("Residents want to see more police on beats," May 2). Yet Mayor Dixon's response is to "selectively" increase overtime for a few units and shuffle surveillance cameras around.

And when Ms. Dixon states, "We need other people to be outraged with us," I wonder who she is referring to?

People such as City Council Vice President Robert W. Curran, who was so outraged about crime that he proposed a much-maligned plan to attack the problem in our neighborhoods - a plan city leadership opposed ("`Public safety' plan halted," May 22)?

Or maybe the citizens of Baltimore, who will still have to face increasing violence while the city spends cash windfalls on pet projects and feel-good measures rather than attempting to address the real problems we face?

Sean Hall


Rising city payroll may shock citizens

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's payroll should anger all city citizens ("Hires, raises lift mayor's payroll 15%," May 26).

It seems to me that an unelected mayor who decides to raise the payroll of her office by 15 percent is a mayor who does not want to be elected.

Ms. Dixon has not only increased her staff but also given raises to staffers she claimed needed the extra money lest they be tempted to follow Gov. Martin O'Malley to state government.

Every citizen should know that Ms. Dixon's chief of staff, with a salary at $150,000, makes the same amount as the governor. I am sure that the duties and responsibilities of those offices are not equal.

Is this waste of taxpayer money justified in the slightest way? I think not.

There is a cancer in our government, and it is called greed.

In my opinion, no one in our state who is paid with taxpayer funds should make more than our governor.

If a person has a desire or need to make more money, let him or her go out into the private sector and earn it.

David K. Kyle


Spanish broadcasts can open our minds

I would like to applaud Maryland Public Television for planning to launch the Spanish-language network, V-me, which will include educational and news programming ("MPT draws fire over Spanish programs," May 26).

I believe this programming can be beneficial not only for Spanish speakers but also for those open-minded citizens willing to learn the Spanish language and learn about Hispanic culture, which is diverse, varied and highly interesting.

I think critics of MPT's offering V-me programs are reacting to the immigration controversy and may be exhibiting a xenophobic attitude based more on emotion than logic.

I do not believe that having a Spanish-language public television network in Maryland will increase illegal immigration.

However, it may increase viewing of Spanish newscasts and of educational programs for people of all ages.

Lucille Romeo

Bel Air

No ethnic group owns the Spanish language

Creating a Maryland Public Television station devoted entirely to Spanish-language programming is not "catering to an individual ethnic group," as The Sun's article "MPT draws fire over Spanish programs" (May 26) suggests.

Spanish speakers come from any number of races and nationalities, just as English speakers don't come only from the United States and Great Britain.

And we are already a bilingual nation.

Abraham Schenck


A moving memorial to nation's war dead

Every morning, as soon as I sit down at my kitchen table to eat breakfast, I grab The Sun. I read the front page first. Then I go directly to the editorial pages, which I read before going back and checking the rest of the paper.

And I must say that when I got to the editorial page on Memorial Day, I was moved by the enormity of the content ("In Memoriam," May 28).

I found this to be the most powerful editorial I have seen since 1999, when I moved to Maryland and became a reader of The Sun.

Thank you for expressing the truth about these wars.

A. Montazer


Where's the tribute to the dead Iraqis?

Monday's commitment of The Sun's editorial and Opinion * Commentary pages to the names of America's war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan made a powerful statement ("In Memoriam," May 28).

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